And then they put Israel on trial.
Let’s remember that the International Court of Justice is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, a deeply antisemitic organization.
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Since Thursday, Israel has found itself, for the first time during its 75-year history, in front of the International Court of Justice in The Hague — absurdly charged with “genocide” by South Africa’s irrelevant government.
I’ll spare you the complete conspiracy theory, but my hunch tells me that South African officials were bribed by wealthy Hamas leaders to bring this unfounded allegation against Israel.
Let’s not forget that senior Hamas officials have relationships in Africa, including companies it owned in Sudan that dealt in mining, chicken farming, and road construction, as well as property-related business ventures in Algeria — all part of what Israeli intelligence officials termed the terror group’s “secret investment portfolio” totaling some $500 million.
There’s only one way for a terrorist organization to do business in various countries — bribe their government officials, upfront or via revenue-sharing — and it could very well be the same way to get an International Court of Justice lawsuit against the country that, as we speak, is destroying your quasi-military fortress in Gaza. But I digress.
With the exception of Saudi Arabia, the countries that have endorsed South Africa’s lawsuit read like a list of unimportant nothingness: Malaysia, Turkey, Bolivia, Nicaragua, The Maldives, Venezuela, Namibia, Jordan, Morocco, Iran, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
You can be sure that Morocco, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia have added their names to the lawsuit to simply maintain popular anti-Israel optics in their countries. After all, the first two countries have not renounced their normalization with Israel (for reasons that speak much louder than endorsing an empty-handed lawsuit). And Saudi Arabia just reiterated that it is (still) interested in normalizing relations with Israel after the war in Gaza.
As journalist Eve Barlow correctly pointed out, this genocide case eerily brings to mind the Durban Conference in 2001 — named for its host city, Durban, in the same increasingly irrelevant South Africa — which was considered the most antisemitic meeting since the 1942 Wannsee Conference, when Nazi Germany senior government officials and SS leaders met in a Berlin suburb.1
At the 2001 event, which Israel’s Foreign Ministry at the time called the “worst international manifestation of antisemitism since World War II,” inflammatory speeches, discriminatory texts, and a pro-Hitler march that took place outside the halls were only part of the ugliness on display.
Twenty years later, in 2021, the “World Conference on Racism” that commemorated the Durban Conference, actually ended up encouraging antisemitism, including through a parallel NGO forum which portrayed caricatures of Jews with hooked noses and fangs dripping with blood, clutching money. Some of the same organizations that participated in the “World Conference on Racism” have, of course, waged the notorious BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaign against Israel.
“Now, in 2024, after two decades of brainwashing the world with an obsession that wrongfully centers Israel in the global fight against racism, South Africa is weaponizing this antisemitic rhetoric,” wrote Barlow. “The goal is to put international pressure on Israel to stop its justified war against the same type of genocidal Islamist terrorism that brought America — and the West — to its knees on 9/11. It’s been a long game, but it’s the same despicable poison.”
Of course, the notion is nothing short of ludicrous that Israel is committing genocide in its war against Hamas in Gaza — a war that, we should recall, Hamas started when it infiltrated Israel on October 7th and massacred more than 1,000 people, while kidnapping children, women, and the elderly, among others.
In this International Court of Justice case, South Africa charges that the Jewish state is waging genocide by intentionally murdering Palestinian civilians, and the Israeli government is taking the allegations extremely serious, since “even an interim ruling against Israel could have a severe impact on its international status and global reputation, with potentially dire diplomatic and political consequences” as well as “the ongoing conduct of the war against the Hamas terror group’s regime in Gaza,” according to an exposé by The Times of Israel.2
South Africa’s application to the International Court of Justice claims that Israel has violated the Genocide Convention, to which it is a signatory. It cites the large number of Palestinian civilians killed during the war, even though there is no third-party verification of this number, and Hamas purposely includes its own operatives in the casualty account to dramatize it in the terror group’s “war of information” against Israel. The terror group even has its combatants wear civilian clothing to confuse the Israeli military and make it seem like more civilians are dying.
To understand the sheer military gymnastics with which Israeli soldiers are confronted, you have to understand that the IDF is fighting within an environment incredibly unique to combat — both urban and underground — which in some ways is unprecedented. Even so, the ratio of combatant to non-combatant casualties (if we believe the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry) is believed to be one-to-two, meaning that for every terrorist there are two civilians killed.
Every civilian life lost is unfortunate, for sure, but there is little doubt that when looking at the last 80 years of war, the way other militaries have fought (including the U.S.) and the way Hamas uses civilians as human shields and civilian infrastructure as its safe-havens, Israel’s ratio of combatant to non-combatant casualties is purely impressive. Plus, using non-combatants to help or shield combatants, which Hamas does on a daily basis, could make non-combatants legitimate targets according to international law.
South Africa’s lawsuit also alleges that Israel is dangerously reducing the Gazan population’s access to food, water, and medical care as part of a planned Israeli effort to commit genocide. The Israeli government had something to say about similar explosive claims made by Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees:
“You can’t keep avoiding the facts: There is no collective punishment. Two crossings are open. You said you can transfer 200 trucks a day in Kerem Shalom (one of the crossings), yet you’re not scraping 100. Over the last 80 days, we’ve adjusted ourselves, all you’ve been doing is stalling.”
Recently, when 81 trucks of aid entered Gaza in a single day, the UN called this volume “woefully inadequate.” But one of the UN’s agencies, the World Food Programme, confirmed that 12 of the 13 aid bottlenecks depend on the UN. There’s a word for blaming your own problems on the Jews: antisemitism.
Still, the numerous inflammatory statements made by Israel government ministers about Palestinians in Gaza have given South Africa a platform to allege that the State of Israel has the intent to commit genocide, a crucial aspect of any genocide charge.
The bar to establish plausibility of genocidal actions is much lower than a final definitive determination, and this puts the Jewish state in significant potential peril — because it could certainly make it more challenging for the U.S. or any other country inclined to stand with Israel, to do so if the International Court of Justice determines the country might be committing genocide.
This week, U.S. President Joe Biden said he understood “ceasefire” protesters’ passion and that he has been “quietly working” with Israel to “get out of Gaza.” If the “plausibility of genocidal actions” is established, it could be conveniently manipulated into a “get out of jail free” card by the Biden administration, which is ramping up its reelection campaign ahead of this November’s U.S. presidential election. For now, Biden’s team has called South Africa’s allegations “unfounded.”
“In fact, it is those who are violently attacking Israel who continue to openly call for the annihilation of Israel and the mass murder of Jews,” U.S. State Department spokesman Matt Miller said in a statement.
And that is precisely what this lawsuit boils down to: virulent antisemitism dressed up in academic jargon and served to largely ignorant or uneducated audiences whose intellectual laziness leads to intellectual dishonesty, the very thing that has gotten millions of Jews murdered.
Let’s remember that the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, a deeply antisemitic organization. Since the Holocaust, worldwide guilt about the scourge of antisemitism has turned Jew-hate into more socially acceptable, self-styled “anti-Zionist” sentiments that deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish-majority state — which much of the UN has gleefully adopted.
Such attitudes at the UN date back to as early as 1952, when Israeli representative Abba Eban put forth an initiative for a ceasefire in Korea. It encountered serious opposition, only to easily pass once Norway replaced Israel as the sponsor. Eban went on to famously say: “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”
There was also the nefarious “Zionism is racism” UN resolution in the 1970s. And eight years ago, then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave words to what Israelis had been feeling for decades, as he criticized the UN for its “obsession with Israel.” True to form, the organization has issued 14 condemnations of the Jewish state this year — double the rest of the world, combined — even as civil wars and other atrocities regularly take place in Yemen, Syria, Sudan, and Ukraine, for examples.
While many people are familiar with “social antisemitism” — an attitude of mind, of hostility and contempt, toward Jews merely because they are Jews — there is a second phenomenon that is far less familiar, but will surely surface at the International Court of Justice.
This second phenomenon is “political antisemitism.” It is not an attitude of mind at all, but a disease of radically redemptive politics, which is why it can move with ease from Right to Left and back again on the sociopolitical spectrum. In this strange body of pseudo-explanatory theory, the supposed quasi-demonic power of all Jews is painted as a tightly organized collective that influences and controls world events.3
Prejudice in the political sense is unique to the Jews, simply because the Jews are the only people perennially singled out by it as possessing the extraordinary powers it ascribes to them. But the question remains: Why the Jews?
What has fitted the Jews for the role assigned to them in the fantasies of political antisemites is, sadly enough, the success of the Jewish People in maintaining a coherent culture and sense of national identity over millennia of diaspora, amid persistent discrimination and persecution. What makes Jews both hateful and profoundly disturbing to those involved in radically redemptive political movements against Jews — whether implicit or explicit, antisemitic or “anti-Zionist” — is the relentless refusal of a majority of Jews to abandon their Jewishness and join, wholeheartedly and with no reservations, whatever redemptive movement happens to be leading the way in the non-Jewish world at the moment.
In other words, to cease to be Jews, and to “join us.”
Now that the Jews have a strong, independent state with one of the world’s most excellent armies, in a region that has historically despised them, this call has essentially been extended to: “Cease to be the Jewish homeland and join us.” In the West, “us” are democracies with separation of religion and state, whereas in the Middle East and North Africa, “us” are Muslim-majority countries.
This call is rooted in the belief that Israel’s existence as a Jewish state makes it harmful to non-Jewish interests in ways so serious that they can only be addressed by the liquidation of the Jewish state in question. In other words, anti-Zionism, like all traditional versions of political antisemitism, is eliminative in character. It does not wish to change Israel, but to get rid of it.
“In the world of global activists, there is a near-theological devotion to the postulate that Israel is uniquely evil, standing in the way of global brotherhood, and that good people everywhere would see that clearly if networks of powerful people weren’t using their money and influence to distort the truth and silence critique,” wrote Shany Mor, a lecturer at Reichman University in Israel. “The only way to make this pathology sound like a reasoned political program is to resort to international law. The argument is: There are laws and Israel is violating them, therefore my consuming hatred of Israel is just an application of these higher principles. It is necessary to stick to this conceit, otherwise their obsessive pathology starts looking like, well, an obsessive pathology.”4
A further parallel with traditional forms of political antisemitism is that anti-Zionism regards the allegedly calamitous character of the State of Israel as essentially connected with its character as a Jewish state. This is based on the fact that if Jewish-majority rule in Israel were to be overthrown and replaced by, say, a Muslim-majority state, anti-Zionists would have no further objection to it. That is, the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state would immediately result in the inauguration of an era of democracy, peace, and plenty throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
None of this can stand, of course, without some account of the nature of the crimes against humanity supposedly committed by Israel. Since Israel is the only state whose overthrow is demanded by anti-Zionists, these must in the nature of things be worse than any that can be alleged against any other presently existing state, including (to name but a few) the present administrations of Russia, Myanmar, North Korea, and Iran.
Against such competition, it would be difficult to make out a case for the superior immorality of Israel based on listing concrete, specific offenses against human rights, such as genocide. Anti-Zionism therefore tends to rest its case not ultimately on specific acts of this or that Israeli administration, but on a handful of characteristics that it takes to be intrinsic to the nature of the Jewish state, whatever administration, whether of the Left or the Right, happens to be in charge at the moment; and intrinsic also to its character as a Jewish state, including that, since its inception, it is an inherently racist enterprise, having been curiously labeled a “Nazi state,” an “Apartheid state,” a “settler-colonial state” and so forth.
These are all claims that the widely accepted definition of antisemitism stigmatizes as explicitly antisemitic. But, of course, such claims would not be antisemitic if they were true, since antisemitism is a form of prejudice, and prejudice is factually ungrounded hostility. Eliminative anti-Zionism is thus antisemitic — and part of the continuation of a decades-long Palestinian strategy in which terror groups like Hamas fight battles of “lawfare” against Israel.5
It works like this: On the one hand, you create impossible dilemmas on the ground for any democracy attempting to defend itself, while on the other hand, you try to criminalize Israel’s reasonable defense of its residents via international institutions and the so-called court of public opinion.
Hence, the claims of Israeli genocide in Gaza, however inauthentic, are once again expressed in scholarly language and legal principles that, in and of themselves, make them sound true as soon as they are stated. Think: proportionality, collective punishment, occupation, refugees, settler violence, and forced displacement. There are even terms that have been invented for and imposed on Israel — and Israel alone — such as “humanitarian pauses,” which pose greater dangers to Israeli soldiers and, thus, Israeli residents.
If any of these incendiary words were used to describe any other arena of combat, there is likely no other military action across the world that could not be branded as “genocide.”
In this way, the United Nations and its International Court of Justice, two organizations whose names are anything but a reflection of their missions, are merely acting in accordance with their longstanding penchant for raging antisemitism.
After an exceedingly surreal 2023, I’m not sure that we should expect anything less.
Eve Barlow on X
“‘We should be worried’: Israel faces peril at The Hague in Gaza ‘genocide’ case.” The Times of Israel.
Harrison, Bernard. “Blaming the Jews: Politics and Delusion.” Indiana University Press, 2020.
“A Special Dictionary for Israel.” Mosaic.
Israel Nitzan on LinkedIn